Bush Tops Three Quarters Of A Billion Dollars in Fund-Raising Donations

The following is a dispatch from CBS News White House Correspondent Mark Knoller:
Because President Bush is giving a speech tomorrow on the situation in Iraq, you won't hear much about the two Republican Party fund-raisers he's doing later in the day. And that's the way the White House prefers it.

But as a sitting president, George W. Bush has no equal as a fund-raiser. Our CBS News tally shows that he has attended over 300 political fund-raisers since taking office, raising – get this - over 3/4s of a billion dollars for the GOP and its candidates.

To be exact, he has done 304 fund-raising events over the last seven years – generating $760,232,500 in contributions to various GOP committees and candidate campaigns. This amount only includes the contributions raised by the fund-raisers he personally attended, including those for his re-election campaign.

And you can expect that total to increase significantly by the end of his term – since much of his political activity this year is expected to be relegated to Republican fund-raising.

In 2000, Bill Clinton's final year as President, he attended a whopping 203 political fund-raisers – including 29 for wife Hillary's campaign for the U.S. Senate. He raised just under $106 million dollars that year. But Mr. Bush topped that amount in four of the last seven years – and did so attending far fewer events.

For example, in 2002, Mr. Bush did 68 fund-raisers generating over $145 million. During his campaign for re-election in 2004, he did only 49 money events, but racked up nearly $154 million – his highest one-year total to date.

So far this year, Mr. Bush has attended only 13 fund-raisers – but has brought in over $30 million. You don't hear much about them, because 11 of the 13 events have been closed to the press. Whenever a fund-raiser attended by the President is held in a private residence – usually belonging to major contributor - the White House seizes it as an excuse to exclude reporters.

Both of the fund-raisers he's attending tomorrow in Ohio and Pennsylvania will be closed to the press as well.